Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Sister

My sister drew this decades ago. It may be the only thing she's ever drawn, although she has a grandson now and maybe she will draw little pictures for him. The caption is still one of my favorite sayings to use when I need something more dramatic than my grandmother's "oh my aching back." My sister is a human being I described today as a prettier Yoda. She is the sibling who got all the common sense from the gene pool that stewed the Robinsons. She was born wise and has grown into good use of the wisdom. She tells me I'm weird. I correct her in the direction of bizarre. She gets a kick out of my naivete. The world and its people are always a surprise to me, repeated experience notwithstanding. Learning impaired. My mother would ask me "how many buildings have to fall on you before you get it?" My sister is honest, in the Heinlein Fair Witness sense. She is the same with everyone. Facts are facts, humans are flawed, the world isn't built to give us what we want. Pragmatic. And admirable. She's the last person to claim she has her shit together, which means she does. And she is funny. Oh, my, we need more humans like my sister. 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Trust Your Gut

Yesterday my neighbor and I were walking from the car to our favorite eating spot when an SUV stopped in front of us, the passenger window rolled down. "Can you help us please?" the woman driver asked. We both walked toward the car. My busy brain started observing. The car was in good shape, the woman and the girl in the passenger seat appeared approachable. Leery of the 2 chihuahuas on the girl's lap, I stopped outside lunging range. The woman explained, "I am $8.40 short to get my daughter her eardrops. She has an ear infection. The ATM here is broken. Can you help us please?" My brain sped up. Flash 1: me with an ear infection, laying in the back seat of the car in terrible pain. 8 years old. About the age of this girl. The girl's face, expression downcast, spins this memory to the top. The woman is waiting. Flash 2: would a woman use a little girl in a scam? Flash 3: good set-up to approach so the passenger side with the girl in pain is in immediate view. Flash 4: aren't 2 dogs an extravagance? Flash 5: aren't there other ATMs nearby? Flash 6: why us? There were men walking into the restaurant. Flash 7: what pharmacy is around here? Blimey! I opened my wallet. Because my gut told my brain to shut up. Would I have the courage to ask a stranger for money I needed to help my daughter? Don't know. Here in front of my nose was human drama, real or well-written. I only had $8, so I turned to my neighbor who was quietly observing, and asked her "do you have $.40 please?"

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shoe Love

A friend posted a picture of high heel bakery confections. Mules with flounce frosting. As a lifelong shoe fancier, it was delightful to see another way to express shoe love. I am happy with shoes in any artful form. My mother had nice shoes - classic styles - being a practical woman as well a tasteful woman. She had a lot of shoes. My sisters love shoes, too. Two of us keep shoes a long time. I wore these orange sandals when I first got them and the trendy sister said, "wow, shoes that are stylish in the decade they're styling!" Heels are heels to me, and never go out of style. Thin, thick, high, higher still. Men have an opinion on shoes which they share out loud sometimes. One podiatrist I dated briefly pummeled me with all the medical reasons high heels are bad for me. He went, the shoes stayed. One reasonable man thought I was tall enough without heels. What's tall enough? I could afford shoes when I could not afford clothes to go with. Shoes changed an outfit in my mind. One suit-5 different shoe looks. And I could see the shoes all day, unlike a blouse or a dress. Taking care, (and having a vast footwear wardrobe) shoes last for years. And I usually found a fabulous sale. I paid full price for a pair of shoes only twice. Shoe shopping was a shared experience with special friends. I knew Beckie liked Steve Madden and Mootsie's Tootsies. She knew I liked Ann Marino and Enzo Angiolini. Our mission on one outing was to get me a pair of black pumps. All those shoes and I owned no black. That was our deal for the day. Just black. Just pumps. I came out with orange sandals and purple mules, and she got in the car with Steve Madden denim platforms. The last time I moved I donated... a lot of shoes. Now I can't wear high heels without suffering calf cramps at night. When I switched to low or no heels several years ago, my calves would cramp because my muscles were evolved to high heels. So, yes, high heels are bad for the body. Yes, at 5' 10", I'm tall. I still love high heels! Elegant shoes are good art. Friends share shoe art now: bakery shoes, eraser shoes, doll shoes, business card holder shoes, shoe cards, picture books of shoes. My niece got me Christian Loubotin shoes for my doll for Christmas. I love new ways to appreciate shoes And my fabulous friends!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Teach Me How, Please

Great-Aunt of a Black Man


What to whom?

No fucking idea.

His great-grandfather
my father
made his mother
my niece

“Does grandpa hate me too?”

She was 5.

Now she’s a mother.

Of a black man.

Teach the haters.

Deny them the comfort of ignorance.

And imagined strength in numbers.

Take their fear.

And teach it to my great-grand nephew.

And not shoot anyone.

Friday, July 12, 2013

How Women Work

Turning into the dollar store yesterday, I saw a car stopped with the flashers on in the exit lane. A woman stood near the driver's door, and I slowed, thinking she needed help, rolled down the window. She pointed to the cement. A big snapping turtle was parked in the drive. I said "Don't pick it up - I've got a shovel. I'll park and be right back." While I was retrieving the shovel, another woman drove in, rolled down her window and said "I'll get a box from the dollar store." The young woman and I talked to the turtle, shuffled our feet to get it moving. The turtle didn't like any of this. We found out quickly that if we walked slowly on either side of the head, the turtle would move. We were herding it to the grass. Meanwhile, the other woman, now with the box in hand, ran up, set the box down, shoved it at the turtle's face. The turtle snapped on the edge. Wow! Now I know why you're not supposed to pick up snapping turtles. She jiggled it a little, and the turtle was in the box. She said she'd take it to the pond by her house. We all thanked each other for helping save a turtle. As I walked by the car, the woman's daughter was freaked out "Mom, what if it comes out? What am I supposed to do? Doesn't this thing bite?" The mother said, "OK, you drive, I'll watch the turtle." We all waved (not the turtle, who was obviously still pissed off.) That's how women work. We rescue turtles. We work together to solve a problem. We think about each other and all of nature. You hear that, guys that just drove by, around and away? That's how women work. This picture is of a snapping turtle I rescued a couple summers ago. An SUV had sped by, flipped it on its back and the turtle was still spinning when I pulled over, picked it up and put it on the grass. That's how women work.